Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mom Empathy

Why is it that after you have children, you have a much harder time watching the news and any movie or TV show that involves children getting hurt?  I am sitting here watching some old Christmas movie I have seen a million times, and I am tearing up at the part where one of the children gets in an accident! Why did I not choke up as much at this part before I had a child?

I call this 'Mom Empathy'. They define empathy as putting yourself in one's shoes as if they were your own. Not 'if they were your own' but 'as if.' If they were your own, then that would be identification. So basically you are to imagine being that person, how they would feel, and what it would be like to be them.

I swear your empathy grows from molehills to mountains after you have kids!  You start imagining what you would do if the child that was kidnapped on the news was your child and then you start worrying, and then you're in meltdown mode by they time the news reporter talks about the outcome. You start cursing yourself for not having changed the channel, and now these thoughts are going to be stuck in your head all day!

One of the the things that drew me to the child counseling profession in the first place, was my understanding of children and my empathy and compassion towards them.  I always had such a strong heart for children and wanted to do what I could as a counselor to help them. With my hard cases of abused children, it took being strong and desensitizing yourself from the situation but still having empathy for the child.

And the same goes for after having children in my profession. It takes removing yourself from the 'drama' and meeting the child where they are at in their life. Basically it means not comparing the situation to your own child which takes practice, believe me:) I have to turn on counselor/professional mode and turn off the 'mom mode.'  I guess I have to start taking my own advice, "Don't take your work home with you, and don't take your home with you to work.'

If you are a parent reading this, have any of you melted into tears at shows you used to not even wince at before you had children? Does watching the local news send you running to your child and hugging them to death ?


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